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The last bus stop

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 7 May 05:00 BST
GA - Always great to talk with, admired by all, funny, sharp, focussed, and hard working. © Photo supplied

A truly great man passed away yesterday. A man as big as he only ever needed his initials to be recognised by, and for some, it was even just the one – ‘G’ - that was enough to know of whom you were referring to.

Graeme Ainley/GA/G passed away yesterday morning. Vale, indeed. The Ainley family (Margaret and their family Michelle, Belinda (partner Aaron and grandson Will), Mark (partner Emily and their two young girls) have lost a titan. To a similar extent so to have the entire ‘Bacardi’ family, and the greater sailing community.

GA was perhaps best known as the co-owner with John ‘Willow’ Williams of the Peterson penned yacht with the massive ‘Bacardi’ on her topsides, when most boats merely had a name on their transom. Later she would be affectionately known simply as, The Bus.

He was a truly unique and extraordinary person who made others lives better. G certainly did that at home. In sailing and also off the water, both socially and administratively, he was a powerhouse. He gave his time to charities like Kids Under Cover, without fanfare and thanks, and also to the wider community as a Councillor.

All of it made possible by Margaret, who has the memory, organisation and persistence to manage his limitless goodwill for the better.

His life was far bigger than just sailing, but for those who knew him personally, or as only a legend they hear in stories, regrettably this particular bus route has unfortunately concluded. Let’s all raise a rum and coke to celebrate his life. Cheers GA.

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